Pierson v. Post : the hunt for the fox : law and professionalization in American legal culture

Fernandez, Angela, 1973-

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  • Creator Angela Fernandez, University of Toronto
  • Format Books
  • Publication Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2018. ©2018
  • Series
  • Physical Details
    • xvi, 377 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
  • ISBNs 9781107039285, 1107039282
  • OCLC on1013508667


  • "The 1805 New York foxhunting case Pierson v. Post has long been used in American property law classrooms to introduce law students to the concept of first possession by asking how one establishes possession of a wild animal. In this book, Professor Angela Fernandez retells the history of the famous fox case, from its origins as a squabble between two wealthy young men on the South Fork of Long Island through its appeal to the New York Supreme Court and entry into legal treatises, law school casebooks, and law journal articles, where it still occupies a central place. Professor Fernandez argues that the dissent is best understood as an example of legal solemn foolery. Yet it has been treated by legal professionals, the lawyers of its day, and subsequent legal academics in such a serious way, demonstrating how the solemn and the silly can occupy two sides of the same coin in American legal history"--
  • "Pierson v. Post (1805) is a famous (and some might say infamous) leading American property law case. It had its origins in a dispute over possession of a wild fox that occurred on a beach on early nineteenth-century Long Island between the sons of two wealthy families from the Hamptons. A young man named Nathan Post, who was engaged in hunting a fox "with dogs and hounds," and another young man, Jesse Pierson, who intervened in the hunt and killed that fox. It has been used in law school classrooms for over a hundred years to introduce students to the concept of possession, read by literally tens of thousands of law students each year. As one modern property casebook puts it, "[s]o many students have begun their legal studies with Pierson v. Post, it is almost unbelievable that an American-educated lawyer would be unfamiliar with it." And, according to the online database HeinOnline, it has been referenced in nearly 800 law journal articles and other secondary legal sources to date"--


  • Includes bibliographical references and index.


  • "The foxe to the huntesman" -- Part I. The literary history of Pierson -- 1. Solemn foolery -- 2. Rabelaisian play -- Part II. The social history of Pierson -- 3. Local justice -- 4. Lawyerization -- 5. The legal fictions needed for a state of nature debate -- Part III. The intellectual history of Pierson -- 6. The reporter -- 7. Mandarization
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